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  • Hope Smith

Local theatre takes on a classic

A theatrical production blowing an audience away and sweeping them off their feet to feel as if they’re in the world of the show – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Musical) directed by Tim McGhee at Theatre of the Republic is one which had every theatre lover’s attention fixated on the stage.

Beauty and exquisite talent nonetheless, the scenic design was detailed and crafted with perfection. The transitions from scene to scene were seamless and didn’t disrupt the flow of the musical; it kept going and moving at a consistent speed.

Each character knew where they were supposed to be at a given moment, and each crew member moved props and completed scene changes at the precise moment without any awkward moments or delays. It was splendid.

One must first give credit to the lead role of Quasimodo, which the whole piece centers around, played by Bradlee Gorrera. He is not a current Coastal student, but he is a Conway star on his way to see his name in lights.

Gorrera's voice is unlike any other - it’s almost unreal. Not only was his voice radiant as Quasimodo, but his dialectic change for the character was superb and accurate. His connection to the character could be felt across the whole room.

He sang every note on pitch and never missed a single word, note, phrase or beat. The audience could not distinguish between Bradlee and Quasimodo, so it felt like they were genuinely watching Quasimodo’s tale.

Bradlee described it as, “…a glorious story about choosing love over fear…” and he portrayed that with ease, care, and indescribable talent.

The show also featured many familiar Coastal faces on stage and, within this showcase of brilliance, The Hunchback of Notre Dame had students from different studies and even some alumni.

Whitney Daniels, who played the lead role of Esmeralda, is an alumnus of CCU in Vocal Performance. She did a wonderful job as Esmeralda because she delivered the role with confidence and poise.

Daniels was stunning, gorgeous, and above all – her voice and dancing were flawless and fit the character perfectly. She used elements that grabbed the audience’s attention, which created a bond with her rebellious character who was rebelling against the antagonist of the musical, Dom Claude Frollo. She was a strong heroine of the musical until the very end.

Other Coastal students that were featured in this production include: Jason Rune, a junior Psychology major who played an Official and Saint Aphrodisuis. Jill Dudley, studying English, who played a Statue and a Gypsy. Megan Hoffman, a junior Music Education major who played a Gypsy.

Congratulations to the entire cast, to the Stage Manager, Paula Zink, along with her crew, everyone who worked on this production and the director. It was quite phenomenal and look forward to the shows to come!

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